Charli D'Amelio at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards

Retail Workers Don’t Want Charli D’Amelio Pretending She Represents Them

Charli D’Amelio is receiving backlash for her latest collaboration with Walmart. The collab saw her dress up as a Walmart employee and pretend to work as a cashier with exaggerated giddiness and excitement, which many felt was highly disrespectful to actual Walmart employees.

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D’Amelio is a social media personality whose fame is a little perplexing. She became famous for doing what a lot of high school students do—posting TikTok dances. D’Amelio became famous overnight as her TikTok videos went viral and gained her millions of followers. Today, she’s the second most-followed TikTok account with a staggering 151.3 million followers. Her TikTok fame soon led to her family getting their own reality series, The D’Amelio Show, and D’Amelio earning a spot on season 33 of Dancing with the Stars, which she subsequently won. While talent and consistency contributed to her going viral, even marketing experts admit that sheer luck played a significant role in her rise to stardom.

Of course, in the world of TikTok, where going viral is kind of like winning the algorithm lottery, anyone could’ve been D’Amelio, so one can’t hold it against her that she came to fame rather unconventionally. However, one can criticize how she responds to that fame or what she does with it. She has come under scrutiny before when she was accused of being rude to the family’s personal chef, Aaron May, and when her family traveled to the Bahamas during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, she is stirring controversy again with her Walmart stunt.

Charli D’Amelio criticized for tasteless Walmart cosplay

D’Amelio and her family recently partnered with Walmart to launch their own snack line, Be Happy Snacks Popcorn. The popcorn comes in four different flavors, available exclusively at Walmart. Brand collaborations are nothing new for TikTok influencers as big as D’Amelio. However, she raised eyebrows with how she chose to promote the snack line.

A video has gone viral featuring D’Amelio gleefully pretending to be a Walmart cashier. She can be seen checking out popcorn bags while laughing and flipping her hair.

She also posted another video on TikTok of her and her sister, Dixie, dressed as Walmart employees frolicking around the store, riding carts, and throwing popcorn bags around.

@charlidamelio

@Be Happy Snacks is here!!! the link is in my bio to shop online or you can go to walmart and shop irl ?

♬ original sound – skyzone.ventura

D’Amelio’s video quickly drew backlash as many perceived it to be mocking retail workers. In the comments on her TikTok, many users expressed the wish to be so rich that they could “cosplay” retail workers. Of course, this is far from the first time a celebrity has tried to pretend to be a “normal person” for brand deals or attention. However, what was particularly off-putting about D’Amelio is that she wasn’t even actually working or experiencing what a shift at Walmart is like. Instead, she put on a Walmart costume to run around the store laughing and pretending it’s just so fun to work a minimum-wage job.

Many will be left asking what’s so fun about working retail. It is well-known that these workers are often overworked, underpaid, and looked down upon by the upper class. Meanwhile, back in 2016, Walmart was caught unlawfully firing employees on strike, highlighting the difficulties retail workers face in being heard and securing better conditions. Of course, having millionaires skipping about the store pretending working at Walmart is a walk in the park isn’t going to help these workers fight for better conditions whatsoever.

One can only imagine what it must feel like for retail workers to see D’Amelio’s Walmart cosplay while they’re struggling to survive on their low wages, especially since there’s a high chance she earned more than they’ll make in a lifetime with that one video.

Needless to say, it’s about time that millionaires stop cosplaying as working-class people. These are real people working real jobs—not characters or something that exists for one’s amusement. They already face more than enough discrimination and poor working conditions without being mocked by celebrities who can’t even comprehend the idea of working in retail.

D’Amelio is more than welcome to try working an eight-hour shift and becoming an actual Walmart employee since she’s so intrigued by the working class. However, no one who became famous mainly out of luck, who will never have to work a 9–5 in their lives, should be pretending they represent Walmart workers while actually doing these employees a huge disservice.

(featured image: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.